Nanocomposites of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC), and montmorillonite (MMT) clay were prepared via solvent casting. In addition to investigating the effect of clay loading, PVA matrices crosslinked with poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) were prepared and compared with linear (noncrosslinked) PVA nanocomposites. 13C NMR and infrared spectroscopy confirmed the presence of crosslinks. Scanning electron microscopy revealed effective NFC and MMT clay dispersion throughout the nanocomposites, while X-ray diffraction highlighted the effectiveness of PAA to encourage clay dispersion. MMT clay provided a barrier against the diffusion of water and oxygen (molecules) through the nanocomposite films. Permeability and adsorption were further reduced by crosslinking, while oxygen barrier properties were remarkably enhanced at elevated relative humidities. Thermal stability of the PVA segments was strengthened by the presence of MMT clay and crosslinks. MMT clay-reinforced PVA and NFC within the films, increasing the Young's modulus, tensile strength, and glass transition temperature. Crosslinking further enhanced the thermomechanical properties by imparting physical restraints on polymer chain segments, providing elasticity, and ductility. The hybrid films were successfully reinforced at elevated humidities, with nanocomposites displaying enhanced storage moduli and near-complete recovery. POLYM. COMPOS., 35:1117-1131, 2014.
- Nanocomposite films
- Polyvinyl alcohols